Friday, July 15, 2016

NO. 2 THE REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST

A SERMON DELIVERED ON SABBATH EVENING, JANUARY 7, 1855,

BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,

AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.

“This do in remembrance of Me.”

1 Corinthians 11:24.

IT seems, then, that Christians may forget Christ. The text implies the possibility of forgetfulness concerning Him whom gratitude and affection should compel them to remember. There could be no need for this loving exhortation if there were not a fearful supposition that our memories might prove treacherous and our remembrance superficial in its character, or changing in its nature. Nor is this a bare supposition—it is, alas, too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It seems at first sight too gross a crime to lay at the door of converted men. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb should ever forget their Ransomer—that those who have been loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, should ever forget that Son. But if startling to the ear, it is, alas, too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the fact. Forget Him who never forgot us? Forget Him who poured His blood forth for our sins? Forget Him who loved us even to the death? Can it be possible? Yes, it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault of all of us—that we can remember anything except Christ. The Object which we should make the monarch of our hearts is the very thing we are most inclined to forget. Where one would think that memory would linger and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder—*that*is the very spot which is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness—the place where memory too seldom looks. I appeal to the conscience of every Christian here—can you deny the truth of what I utter? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away your heart and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should have your eye steadily fixed upon the Cross. It is the incessant round of world, world, world—the constant din of earth, earth, earth, that takes away the soul from Christ. Oh, my Friends, is it not too sadly true that we can recollect anything but Christ and forget nothing so easy as Him whom we ought to remember? While memory will preserve a poisoned weed, it suffers the Rose of Sharon to wither.

The cause of this is very apparent—it lies in one or two facts. We forget Christ because regenerate persons as we are—still corruption and death remain even in us. We forget Him because we carry about with us the old Adam of sin and death. If we were purely new-born creatures, we would never forget the name of Him whom we love. If we were entirely regenerated beings, we would sit down and meditate on what our Savior did and suffered. As He is. All He has gloriously promised to perform. And never would our roving affections stray, but stay centered, nailed, fixed eternally to one Object—we should continually contemplate the death and sufferings of our Lord. But alas, we have a worm in the heart, an abode of pests, a morgue within. Lusts, vile imaginations and strong evil passions like wells of poisonous water send out streams of impurity. I have a heart, which God knows I wish I could wring from my body and hurl to an infinite distance. I have a soul which is a cave of unclean birds, a den of loathsome creatures where dragons haunt and owls congregate, where every evil beast dwells—a heart too vile to have a parallel—“deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” This is the reason why I am forgetful of Christ. Nor is this the sole cause. I suspect it lies somewhere else, too. We forget Christ because there are so many other things around us to attract our attention, “But,” you say, “they ought not to do so, because though they are around us, they are nothing in comparison with Jesus Christ—though they are in dread proximity to our hearts, what are they compared with Christ?” But do you know, dear Friends, that the nearness of an object has a very great effect upon its power? The sun is many, many times larger than the moon, but the moon has a greater influence upon the tides of the ocean than the sun, simply because it is nearer and has a greater power of attraction. So I find that a little crawling worm of the earth has more effect upon my soul than the glorious Christ in Heaven. A handful of golden earth, a puff of fame, a shout of applause, a thriving business, my house, my home will affect me more than all the glories of the upper world. Yes, than the Beatific Vision itself—simply because earth is near and Heaven is far away. Happy day, when I shall be borne aloft on angels’ wings to dwell forever near my Lord—to bask in the sunshine of His smile and to be lost in the ineffable radiance of His lovely Countenance. We see, then, the cause of forget- fulness. Let us blush over it. Let us be sad that we neglect our Lord so much. And now let us attend to His Word, “This do in remembrance of Me,” hoping that its solemn sounds may charm away the demon of base ingratitude.

We shall speak, first of all, *concerning the blessed Object of memory*. Secondly, *upon the advantages to be derived from remembering this Person*. Thirdly *the gracious help, to our memory—“*This do in *remembrance *of *Me*.” And fourthly, *the gentle command*, *“This do *in remembrance of Me.” May the Holy Spirit open my lips and your hearts, that we may receive blessings.

I. First of all, we shall speak of THE GLORIOUS AND PRECIOUS OBJECT OF MEMORY—“This do in remembrance of *Me*.” Christians have many treasures to lock up in the cabinet of memory. They ought to remember their *election—*“Chosen of God before time began.” They ought to be mindful of their *extraction*, that they were taken out of the miry clay, hewn out of the horrible pit. They ought to recollect their *effectual calling*, for they were called of God and rescued by the power of the Holy Spirit. They ought to remember their *special deliverances*—all that has been done for them and all the mercies bestowed on them. But there is One whom they should embalm in their souls with the most cost- ly spices—One who, above all other gifts of God, deserves to be had in perpetual remembrance. *One*, I said, for I mean not an act, I mean not a deed. But it is a *Person *whose portrait I would frame in gold and hang up in the stateroom of the soul. I would have you earnest students of all the *deeds *of the conquering Messiah. I would have you conversant with the *life *of our Beloved. But O forget not His *Person*. For the text says, “This do in remembrance of ME.” It is Christ’s glorious Person which ought to be the object of our remembrance. It is His image which should be enshrined in every temple of the Holy Spirit.

But some will say, “How can we remember Christ’s Person when we never saw it? We cannot tell what was the peculiar form of His visage. We believe His countenance to be fairer than that of any other man—although through grief and suffering more marred—but since we did not see it, we cannot remember it. We never saw His feet as they trod the jour- neys of His mercy. We never beheld His hands as He stretched them out full of loving kindness. We cannot remember the wondrous intonation of His language, when in more than seraphic eloquence He awed the multitude and chained their ears to Him. We cannot picture the sweet smile that always hung on His lips, nor that awful frown with which He dealt out anathemas against the Pharisees. We cannot remember Him in His sufferings and agonies for we never saw Him.” Well, Beloved, I suppose it is true that you cannot remember the *visible *appearance, for you were not then born. But do you not know that even the Apostle said though He had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh He would know Christ no more. The natural appearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb—they are nothing in the Apostle’s estimation of His glorified Lord. And thus, though you do not know Him after the flesh, you may know Him after the spirit! In this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favored ones who once trod in His footsteps, walked side by side with Him, or laid their heads upon His bosom. Memory annihilates distance and leaps over time and can behold the Lord, though He is exalted in glory!

Ah, let us spend five minutes in remembering Jesus. Let us remember Him in His *Baptism*, when descending into the waters of Jordan, a voice was heard, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Behold Him coming up dripping from the stream. Surely the conscious water must have blushed that it contained its God. He slept within its waves a moment—to consecrate the tomb of Baptism—in which those who are dead with Christ are buried with Him. Let us remember Him in the *wilderness*, where He went straight from His immersion. Oh, I have often thought of that scene in the desert, when Christ, weary and worn, sat down, perhaps upon the gnarled roots of some old tree! Forty days had He fasted. He was hungry. Then in the extremity of His weakness there came the evil spirit. Perhaps he had veiled his demon royalty in the form of some aged pilgrim and taking up a stone, said, “Wayworn Pilgrim, if you are the Son of God, command this stone to be made bread.” I think I see him, with his cunning smile and his malicious leer, as he held the stone and said, “If”—blasphemous if—“If you are the Son of God, command that this stone shall become a meal for me and You, for both of us are hungry and it will be an act of mercy. You can do it easily, speak the word and it shall be like the bread of Heaven. We will feed upon it and You and I will be friends forever.” But Jesus said—and O how sweetly did He say it—“Man shall not live by bread alone.” Oh, how wonderfully did Christ fight the Tempter! Never was there such a battle as that. It was a duel foot to foot—a single-handed combat—when the champion lion of the Pit and the mighty Lion of the tribe of Judah fought together. Splendid sight! Angels stood around to gaze upon the spectacle, just as men of old did sit to see the tournament of noted warriors. There Satan gathered up his strength. Here Apollyon concentrated all his Satanic power that in this giant wrestle he might overthrow the Seed of the woman! But Jesus was more than a match for him. In the wrestling He gave him a deadly fall and came out more than a conqueror. Lamb of God! I will remember Your desert strivings when next I combat with Satan. When next I have a conflict with roaring Diabolus, I will look to Him who conquered once and for all and broke the dragon’s head with His mighty blows!

Further, I beseech you remember Him in all *His daily temptations *and hourly trials, in that life-long struggle of His through which He passed. Oh, what a mighty tragedy was the death of Christ! And His life, too! Ushered in with a song, it closed with a shriek, “It is finished!” It began in a manger and ended on a Cross—but oh, the sad interval between! Oh, the black pictures of persecution when His friends abhorred Him. When His foes frowned at Him as He passed the streets. When He heard the hiss of calumny and was bitten by the foul tooth of envy. When slander said He had a devil and was mad—that He was a drunken man and a wine-bibber—and when His righteous soul was vexed with the ways of the wicked. Oh, Son of God, I must remember You. I cannot help remembering You, when I think of those years of toil and trouble which You did live for *my *sake! But do you know my chosen theme—the place where I can always best re- member Christ? It is a shady garden full of olives. O that spot! I would that I had eloquence, that I might take you there. Oh, if the Spirit would but take us and set us down hard by the mountains of Jerusalem, I would say, See, there runs the brook of Kidron, which the King, Himself, did pass. And there you see the olive trees. Possibly, at the foot of that olive tree lay the three disciples when they slept. And there, ah, there, I see drops of blood! Stand here, my Soul, a moment. Those drops of blood—do you behold them? Mark them. They are not the blood of wounds—they are the blood of a Man whose body was then unwounded. O my Soul, picture Him when He knelt down in agony and sweat—sweat because He wrestled with God—sweat because He agonized with His Father. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” O Gethsemane! Your shades are deeply solemn to my soul. But ah, those drops of blood! Surely it is the climax of the height of misery. It is the last of the mighty acts of this wondrous Sacrifice. Can love go deeper than that? Can it stoop to greater deeds of mercy? Oh, had I eloquence I would bestow a tongue on every drop of blood that is there—that your hearts might rise in mutiny against your languor and coldness and speak out with earnest burning remembrance of Jesus. And now, farewell, Gethsemane.

But I will take you somewhere else where you shall still behold the “Man of Sorrows.” I will lead you to Pilate’s hall and let you see Him endure the mockeries of cruel soldiers—the smiting of mailed gloves, the blows of clenched fists. The shame, the spitting, the plucking of the hair—the cruel buffetings. Oh, can you not picture the King of Martyrs stripped of His garments—exposed to the gaze of fiend-like men? See you not the crown about His temples, each thorn acting as a lancet to pierce His head? Stare you not at His lacerated shoulders and the white bones starting out from the bleeding flesh? Oh, Son of Man! I see You scourged and flagellated with rods and whips! How can I cease to remember You? My memory would be more treacherous than Pilate, did it not ever cry, *Ecce Homo— *“Behold the man.”

Now, finish the scene of woe by a view of Calvary. Think of the pierced hands and the bleeding side. Think of the scorching sun and then the entire darkness. Remember the broiling fever and the dread thirst. Think of the death shriek, “It is finished!” and of the groans which were its prelude. This is the Object of memory. Let us never forget Christ. I beseech you, for the love of Jesus, let Him have the chief place in your memories. Let not the Pearl of Great Price be dropped from your careless hand into the dark ocean of oblivion.

I cannot, however, help saying one thing before I leave this head—and that is, there are some of you who can very well carry away what I have said because you have read it often and heard it before. But still you cannot spiritually re- member anything about Christ because you never had Him manifested to you—and what we have never *known—*we cannot remember. Thanks be unto God, I speak not of you all, for in this place there is a goodly remnant according to the election of Grace and to them I turn. Perhaps I could tell you of some old barn, hedge-row, or cottage. Or if you have lived in London, about some attic, or some dark lane or street, where first you met with Christ. Or some chapel into which you strayed and you might say, “Thank God, I can remember the seat where first He met with me and spoke the whispers of love to my soul and told me He had purchased me”—

“Do mind the place, the spot of ground,
Where Jesus did you meet!”

Yes, and I would love to build a temple on the spot and to raise some monument there—where Jehovah-Jesus first spoke to my soul and manifested Himself to me. But He has revealed Himself to you more than once—has He not? And you can remember scores of places where the Lord has appeared of old unto you, saying, “Behold I have loved you with an ever- lasting love.” If you cannot all remember such things, there are some of you that can. And I am sure they will understand me when I say, come and do this in remembrance of Christ—in remembrance of all His loving visitations—of His sweet wooing words—of His winning smiles upon you—of all He has said and communicated to your souls. Remember all these things, tonight, if it is possible for memory to gather up the mighty aggregate of Grace. “Bless the Lord, O my Soul and forget not all His benefits.”

II. Having spoken upon the blessed Object of our memory, we say, secondly, a little upon THE BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED FROM A LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST.

Love never says, “*Cuibono*?” Love never asks what benefit it will derive from love. Love from its very nature is a dis- interested thing. It loves for the creature’s sake it loves and for nothing else. The Christian needs no argument to make Him love Christ—just as a mother needs no argument to make her love her child. She does it because it is her nature to do so. The new-born creature must love Christ—it cannot help it. Oh, who can resist the matchless charms of Jesus Christ?—the fairest of ten thousand fairs, the loveliest of ten thousand loves! Who can refuse to adore the Prince of Perfection, the Mirror of Beauty, the Majestic Son of God? But yet it may be useful to us to observe the advantages of remembering Christ, for they are neither few nor small.

And first, remembrance of Jesus will tend to give you *hope when you are under the burden of your sins*. Let us notice a few characters here tonight. There comes in a poor creature. Look at him! He has neglected himself this last month. He looks as if he had hardly eaten his daily bread. What is the matter with you? “Oh,” he says, “I have been under a sense of guilt. I have been again and again lamenting, because I fear I can never be forgiven—once I thought I was good, but I have been reading the Bible and I find that my heart is ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.’ I have tried to reform, but the more I try, the deeper I sink in the mire. There is certainly no hope for me. I feel that I deserve no mercy—it seems to me that God must destroy me, for He has declared, ‘The soul that sins it shall die.’ And die I must, be damned I must, for I know I have broken God’s Law.” How will you comfort such a man? What soft words will you utter to give him peace? *I know! I will tell him to remember Christ*. I will tell him there is One who paid the mighty debt of misery. Yes, I will tell you drunks, swearers—whatever you have been—I will tell you that there is One who for you has made a complete Atonement! If you only *believe *on Him you are safe forever. Remember Him, you poor dying, hopeless creature and you shall be made to sing for joy and gladness. Look, the man believes and in ecstasy exclaims, “Oh, come all you that fear God and I will tell you what He has done for my soul”—

“Tell it unto sinners, tell,

I am, I am out of Hell.”

Hallelujah! God has blotted out my sins like a thick cloud! That is one benefit to be derived from remembering Christ. It gives us hope under a sense of sin and tells us there is mercy yet.

Now, I must have another character. And what does he say? “I cannot stand it any longer—I have been persecuted and ill-treated because I love Christ. I am mocked and laughed at and despised—I try to bear it, but I really cannot. A man will be a man—tread upon a worm and he will turn upon you. My patience altogether fails me. I am in such a peculiar position that it is of no use to advise me to have patience, for patience I cannot have. My enemies are slandering me and I do not know what to do.” What shall we say to that poor man? How shall we give him patience? What shall we preach to him? You have heard what he has to say about himself. How shall we comfort him under this great trial? If we suffered the same, what should we wish some friend to say to us? Shall we tell him that other persons have borne as much? He will say, “Miserable comforters are you all!” No, I will tell him, “Brother, you are persecuted, but remember the words of Jesus Christ, how He spoke unto us and said, ‘Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets that were before you.’” My Brother! Think of *Him*, who when He died, prayed for His murderers and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All you have to bear is as nothing compared with His mighty sufferings. Take courage—face it again like a man—never say die. Let not your patience be gone. Take up your cross daily and follow Christ. Let Him be your motto—set Him before your eyes. And, now, receiving this, hear what the man will say. He tells you at once—“Hail, persecution! Welcome shame! Disgrace for Jesus shall be my honor and scorn shall be my highest glory—

‘Now, for the love I bear His name,

What was my gain I count my loss,

I pour contempt on all my shame,

And nail my glory to His cross.’”

There is another effect, you see, of remembering Christ. It tends to give us *patience under *persecution. It is a belt to brace up the loins so that our faith may endure to the end.

Dear Friends, I would occupy your time too much if I went into the several benefits. So I will only just run over one or two blessings to be received. It will give us strength in *temptation*. I believe that there are hours with every man when he has a season of terrific temptation. There was never a vessel that lived upon the mighty deep but sometimes it has to do battle with a storm. There she is, the poor ship, rocked up and down on the mad waves. See how they throw her from wave to wave, all toss her to mid-heaven. The winds laugh her to scorn. Old Ocean takes the ship in his dripping fingers and shakes it to and fro. How the mariners cry out for fear! Do you know how you can put oil upon the waters and all shall be still? Yes, one potent word shall do it. Let *Jesus *come. Let the poor heart *remember Jesus *and steadily, then, the ship shall sail, for Christ has the helm. The winds shall blow no more, for Christ shall bid them shut their mighty mouths and never again disturb His child. There is nothing which can give you strength in temptation and help you to weather the storm like the name of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God! Then again, what *comfort *it will give you on a sick bed—the name of Christ! It will help you to be patient to those who wait upon you and to endure the sufferings which you have to bear. Yes, it shall be so with you, that you shall have more hope in sickness than in health and shall find a blessed sweetness in the bitterness of gall. Instead of feeling vinegar in your mouth through your trouble, you shall find honey for sweetness in the midst of all the trial and trouble that God will put upon you—“For He gives songs in the night.”

But just to close up the advantages of remembering Christ—do you know where you will have the benefit most of all? Do you know the place where chiefly you will rejoice that you ever thought of Him? I will take you to it. Hush! Silence! You are going upstairs into a lonely room. The curtains hang down. Someone stands there weeping. Children are around the bed and friends are there. See that man lying there? That is yourself—look at how his eyes are your eyes—his hands are your hands. That is *yourself*—you will be there soon, Man! That is *yourself*—do you see it? It is a picture of *yourself*—those are your eyes that soon will be closed in death—your hands that will lie stiff and motionless—your lips that will be dry and parched, between which they will put drops of water. Those are your words that freeze in air and drop so slowly from your dying lips. I wonder whether you will be able to remember Christ there? If you do not, I will picture you. Behold that man, straight up in the bed—see his eyes starting from their sockets? His friends are all around, they ask him what he sees. He represses the emotion. He tells them he sees nothing. They know that there is something before his eyes. He starts again. Good God! What is that I see—I seem to see? That is it? Ah, one sigh! The soul is gone. The body is there. What did he see? He saw a flaming throne of judgments. He saw God upon it with His scepter. He saw books opened. He beheld the Throne of God and saw a messenger with a sword brandished in the air to smite him low. Man! That is *yourself*. There you will be soon. That picture is your own portrait. I have photographed you to the life. Look at it. That is where you shall be within a few years—yes, within a few days. But if you can *remember Christ*, shall I tell you what you will do? Oh, you will smile in the midst of trouble. Let me picture such a man. They put pillows behind him. He sits up in bed and takes the hand of the his loved one and says, “Farewell! Weep not for me! The kind God shall wipe away all tears from every eye.” Those round about are addressed, “Prepare to meet your God and follow me to the land of bliss.” Now he has set his house in order. It is done. Behold him, like good old Jacob, leaning on his staff, about to die. See how his eyes sparkle! He claps his hands—they gather round to hear what he has to say. He whispers, “Victo- ry!” And summoning a little more strength, he cries, “Victory!” And at last, with his final gasp, “Victory, through Him that loved us!” And he dies. This is one of the great benefits to be derived from remembering Christ—to be enabled to meet death with blessed composure.

III. We are now arrived at the third portion of our meditations which is A SWEET AID TO MEMORY.

At schools we use certain books, called “Aids to Memory.” I am sure they rather perplexed than assisted me. Their utility was equivalent to that of a bundle of canes under a traveler’s arm—true, he might use them one by one to walk with, but in the meantime he carried a host of others which he would never need. But our Savior was wiser than all our teachers and His remembrances are true and real aids to memory. His love tokens have an unmistakable language and they sweetly win our attention.

Behold the whole mystery of the sacred Eucharist. It is bread and wine which are lively emblems of the body and blood of Jesus. The power to excite remembrance consists in the appeal thus made to the senses. Here the eye, the hand, the mouth find joyful work. The bread is tasted and entering within, works upon the sense of taste, which is one of the most powerful remembrances. The wine is sipped—the act is palpable. We know that we are drinking and thus the senses which are usually clogs to the soul become wines to lift the mind in contemplation. Again—much of the influence of this ordinance is found in its simplicity. How beautifully simple the ceremony is—bread broken and wine poured out. There is no calling *that *thing a chalice, *that *thing a paten and *that *a host. Here is nothing to burden the memory—here is the simple bread and wine. He must have no memory at all who cannot remember that he has eaten bread and that he has been drinking wine. Note again, the *mighty pregnancy *of these signs—how full they are of meaning. Bread broken—so was your Savior broken. Bread to be eaten—so His flesh is food, indeed. Wine poured out, the pressed juice of the grape—so was your Savior crushed under the foot of Divine Justice. His blood is your sweetest wine. Wine to cheer your heart—so does the blood of Jesus. Wine to strengthen and invigorate you—so does the blood of the Mighty Sacrifice. Oh, make that bread and wine to your souls tonight a sweet and blessed help of remembrance of that dear Man who once on Calvary died. Like the little ewe lamb, you are now to eat your Master’s bread and drink from His cup. Remember the hand which feeds you.

But before you can remember Christ well here, you must ask the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I believe there ought to be a preparation before the Lord’s Supper. I do not believe in Mrs. Toogood’s preparation, who spent a week in preparing and then finding it was not the Ordinance Sunday, she said she had lost all the week. I do not believe in that kind of preparation. But I do believe in a holy preparation for the Lord’s Supper—when we can on a Saturday, if possible, spend an hour in quiet meditation on Christ and His Passion. When, especially on the Sabbath afternoon, we can devoutly sit down and behold Him—then these scenes become realities and not mockeries, as they are to some. I fear greatly that there are some of you who will eat the bread tonight and will not think about Christ—some of you who will drink the wine and not think of His blood—and vile hypocrites you will be while you do it! Take heed to yourselves, “He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks—what?—“damnation to himself.” This is plain English. Mind what you are doing! Do not do it carelessly. For of all the sacred things on earth, it is the most solemn. We have heard of some men banded together by draining blood from their arms and drinking it all round. That was most horrid, but at the same time most solemn. Here you are to drink blood from the veins of Christ and sip the trickling stream which gushed from His own loving heart. Is not that a solemn thing? Ought anybody to trifle with it? To go to church and take it for six- pence? To come and join us for the sake of getting charities? Away with it! It is an awful blasphemy against Almighty God and among the damned in Hell! Those shall be among the most accursed who dared thus to mock the holy ordinance of God. This is the remembrance of Christ. “This do in remembrance of Me.” If you cannot do it in remembrance of Christ, I beseech you, as you love your souls, do not do it at all! Oh, regenerate man or woman, enter not into the court of the priests, lest Israel’s God resent the intrusion.

IV. And now to close up. Here is A SWEET COMMAND—“This do in remembrance of Me.” To whom does this command apply? “This do YOU.” It is important to answer this question—“This do YOU.” Who are intended? You who put your trust in Me. “This do you in remembrance of Me.” Well, now, you should suppose Christ speaking to you tonight. And He says, “This do you in remembrance of Me.” Christ watches you at the door. Some of you go home and Christ says, “I thought I said, ‘This do you in remembrance of Me.’” Some of you keep your seats as spectators. Christ sits with you and He says, “I thought I said, ‘This do you in remembrance of Me.’” “Lord, I know You did.” “Do you love Me, then?” “Yes, I love You. I love You, Lord, You know I do.” “But, I say, go down there—eat that bread, drink that wine.” “I do not like to, Lord. I should have to be baptized if I joined that Church and I am afraid I shall catch cold, or be looked at. I am afraid to go before the Church, for I think they would ask some questions I could not answer.” “What?” asks Christ, “Is this all you love Me? Is this all your affection to your Lord? Oh, how cold to Me, your Savior! If I had loved you no more than this, you would have been in Hell—if that were the full extent of My affection, I would not have died for you. Great love bore great agonies—and is this all your gratitude to Me?” Are not some of you ashamed, after this? Do you not say in your hearts, “it is really wrong”? Christ says, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” and are you not ashamed to stay away? I give a free invitation to every lover of Jesus to come to this table. I beseech you, deny not yourselves the privilege by refusing to unite with the Church. If you still live in sinful neglect of this ordinance, let me remind you that Christ has said, “Whoever shall be ashamed of Me in this generation, of him will I be ashamed, when I come in the Glory of My Father.” Oh, soldier of the Cross, act not the coward’s part!

And not to lead you into any mistakes, I must just add one thing and then I have done. When I speak of your taking the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, do not imagine that I wish you for one moment to suppose that there is anything *saving in it. Some say that the ordinance of Baptism is non-essential. So is the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper—it is non-essential, if we look upon it in the light of salvation*. Be saved by eating a piece of bread? Nonsense, confounded nonsense! Be saved by drinking a drop of wine? Why, it is too absurd for common sense to admit any discussion upon! You know it is the blood of Jesus Christ. It is the merit of His agonies. It is the purchase of His sufferings—it is what *He did—*that alone can save us. Venture on Him—venture wholly—and then you are saved. Do you know, poor convicted Sinner, the way of salvation? If I ever meet you in the next world, you might, perhaps, say to me, “I spent one evening, Sir, in hearing you and you never told me the way to Heaven.” Well, you shall hear it—Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trust in His name, find refuge in His Cross, rely upon the power of His Spirit, trust in His righteousness and you are saved beyond the vengeance of the Law, or the power of Hell. But trust in your own works and you are lost as sure as you are alive!

Now, O ever glorious Son of God, we approach Your table to feast on the viands of Grace. Permit each of us, in re- liance upon Your Spirit, to exclaim in the words of one of Your own poets—

“Remember You and all Your pains

And all Your love to me?—Yes,

While a pulse or breath remains,

I will remember Thee.

And when these failing lips grow dark

And thought and memory flee

When You shall in Your kingdom come,

Jesus, remember me!”

PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON

TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.

[1] Footnote 1. http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols1-3/chs2.pdf

Thursday, July 14, 2016

No. 1 "The Immutability of God" by C. H. Spurgeon

A SERMON DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, JANUARY 7, 1855,

BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,

AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

Malachi 3:6.

IT has been said by someone that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God. The proper study of a Chris- tian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy which can ever engage the attention of a child of God is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity—so deep that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with—in them we feel a kind of self-content and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master science, finding that our plumb line cannot sound its depth and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thoughts that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’ colt and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel—

“Great God, how infinite are

You, What worthless worms are we!”

But while the subject *humbles* the mind it also *expands* it. He who often thinks of God will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well-nigh unutterable names. He may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus and all kinds of extinct animals. He may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and Him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so en- large the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And while humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently *consolatory*. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound! In musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief and in the influence of the Holy Spirit there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deep- est sea—be lost in His immensity. And you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sor- row—so speak peace to the winds of trial—as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning. We shall present you with one view of it—that is the *immutability* of the glorious Jehovah. “I am,” says my text, “Jehovah,” (for so it should be translated) “I am Je- hovah, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

There are three things this morning. First of all, an *unchanging* God. Secondly, the *persons* who derive benefit from this glorious attribute, “the sons of Jacob.” And thirdly, the *benefit* they so derive, they “are not consumed.” We address ourselves to these points.

I. First let us set before us the doctrine of the immutability of God. “I am God, I change not.” Here I shall attempt to expound, or rather to enlarge the thought and then afterwards to bring a few arguments to prove its truth.

1. I shall offer some exposition of my text by first saying that God is Jehovah and He changes not *in His essence*. We cannot tell you what Godhead is. We do not know what substance that is which we call God. It is an existence, it is a being. But what that is we know not. However, whatever it is, we call it His essence and that essence never changes. The substance of mortal things is ever changing. The mountains with their snow-white crowns doff their old diadems in summer, in rivers trickling down their sides, while the storm cloud gives them another coronation. The ocean, with its mighty floods, loses its water when the sunbeams kiss the waves and snatch them in mists to Heaven. Even the sun himself re- quires fresh fuel from the hand of the infinite Almighty to replenish his ever-burning furnace. All creatures change. Man, especially as to his body, is always undergoing revolution. Very probably there is not a single particle in my body which was in it a few years ago. This frame has been worn away by activity, its atoms have been removed by friction, fresh particles of matter have in the meantime constantly accrued to my body and so it has been replenished—its substance is altered. The fabric of which this world is made is ever passing away like a stream of water—drops are running away and others are following after, keeping the river still full—but always changing in its elements. But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is Spirit—pure, essential and ethereal Spirit—and, therefore, He is immutable. He remains everlastingly the same. There are no furrows on His eternal brow. No age has palsied Him—no years have marked Him with the mementoes of their flight. He sees ages pass, but with Him it is ever *now*. He is the great I AM—the Great Unchangeable. Mark you, His essence did not undergo a change when it became united with the manhood. When Christ in past years did gird Himself with mortal clay, the essence of His divinity was not changed—flesh did not become God, nor did God become flesh by a real actual change of nature. The two were united in hypostatical union, but the Godhead was still the same. It was the same when He was a babe in the manger, as it was when He stretched the curtains of Heaven—it was the same God that hung upon the Cross and whose blood flowed down in a purple river. The self-same God that holds the world upon His everlasting shoulders and bears in His hands the keys of death and Hell. He never has been changed in His essence, not even by His incarnation—He remains everlastingly, eternally, the one unchanging God, the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither the shadow of a change.

2. He changes not in His *attributes*. Whatever the attributes of God were of old, they are the same now. And of each of them we may sing, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. Was He *powerful*? Was He the mighty God when He spoke the world out of the womb of non-existence? Was He the omnipotent when He piled the mountains and scooped out the hollow places for the rolling deep? Yes, He was powerful then and His arm is unpalsied now. He is the same giant in His might. The sap of His nourishment is still wet and the strength of His soul stands the same forever. Was He wise when He constituted this mighty globe, when He laid the foundations of the universe? Had He *wisdom* when He planned the way of our salvation and when, from all eternity, He marked out His awful plans? Yes and He is wise now. He is not less skillful, He has not less knowledge. His eyes which see all things are undimmed. His ears which hear all the cries, sighs, sobs and groans of His people, are not rendered heavy by the years which He has heard their prayers. He is unchanged in His wisdom. He knows as much now as ever—neither more nor less. He has the same consummate skill and the same infinite forecasting. He is unchanged, blessed be His name, in His *justice*. Just and holy was He in the past—just and holy is He now. He is unchanged in His *truth—*He has promised and He brings it to pass. He has said it and it shall be done. He varies not in the *goodness*, generosity and benevolence of His nature. He is not become an almighty tyrant, whereas He was once an almighty Father. His strong love stands like a granite rock unmoved by the hurricanes of our iniquity. And blessed be His dear name, He is unchanged in His *love*. When He first wrote the covenant, how full His heart was with affection to His people. He knew that His Son must die to ratify the articles of that agreement. He knew right well that He must rend His best Beloved from His heart, and send Him down to earth to bleed and die. He did not hesitate to sign that mighty covenant. Nor did He shun its fulfillment. He loves as much now as He did then. And when suns shall cease to shine and moons to show their feeble light, He still shall love on for- ever and forever. Take any one attribute of God and I will write *semper idem *on it (always the same).

Take any one thing you can say of God, now, and it may be said not only in the dark past, but in the bright future. It shall always remain the same—“I am Jehovah, I change not”—impressed on His heart it remains.

3. Then again, God changes not in His *plans*. That man began to build, but was not able to finish and, therefore, he changed his plan—as every wise man would do in such a case—he built upon a smaller foundation and commenced again. But has it ever been said that God began to build but was not able to finish? No. When He has boundless stores at His command and when His own right hand would create worlds as numerous as drops of morning dew, shall He ever stay because He has not power? Or reverse, or alter, or disarrange His plan because He cannot carry it out? “But,” say some, “perhaps God never had a plan.” Do you think God is more foolish than yourself then, sir? Do you go to work without a plan? “No,” you say, “I have always a scheme.” So has God. Every man has his plan and God has a plan, too. God is a master mind—He arranged everything in His gigantic intellect long before He did it—and once having settled it, mark you, He never alters it. “This shall be done,” says He and the iron hand of destiny marks it down and it is brought to pass. “This is My purpose,” and it stands, nor can earth or Hell alter it. “This is My decree,” says He. Promulgate it angels—rend it down from the gate of Heaven you devils. But you cannot alter the decree. It shall be done. God alters not His plans—why should He? He is almighty, and therefore can perform His pleasure. Why should He? He is the all-wise and, therefore, cannot have planned wrongly. Why should He? He is the everlasting God and, therefore, cannot die before His plan is accomplished. Why should He change? You worthless atoms of existence, ephemera of the day! You creeping insects upon this bay leaf of existence! You may change *your* plans, but He shall never, never change *His*. Then has He told me that His plan is to save me? If so, I am safe—

“My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase;

Impressed on His heart it remains,

In marks of indelible grace.”

4. Yet again, God is unchanging in His *promises*. Ah, we love to speak about the sweet promises of God. But if we could ever suppose that one of them could be changed—we would not talk anything more about them. If I thought that the notes of the bank of England could not be cashed next week, I would decline to take them and if I thought that God’s promises would never be fulfilled—if I thought that God would see it right to alter some word in His promises—farewell Scriptures! I want immutable things—and I find that I have immutable promises when I turn to the Bible—for, “by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,” He has signed, confirmed and sealed every promise of His. The Gospel is not “yes and no,” it is not promising today and denying tomorrow. The Gospel is “yes, yes,” to the glory of God. Believer, there was a delightful promise which you had yesterday—and this morning when you turned to the Bible the promise was not sweet. Do you know why? Do you think the promise had changed? Ah, no, *you *changed—that is where the matter lies. You had been eating some of the grapes of Sodom and your mouth was thereby put out of taste and you could not detect the sweetness. But there was the same honey there, depend upon it—the same preciousness. “Oh,” says one child of God, “I had built my house firmly once upon some stable promises. There came a wind and I said, O Lord, I am cast down and I shall be lost.” Oh, the promises were *not *cast down. The foundations were not removed. It was your little “wood, hay, stubble” hut that you had been building. It was *that *which fell down. *You *have been shaken *on *the rock, not the rock *under *you. But let me tell you what is the best way of living in the world. I have heard that a gentleman said to a Negro, “I can’t think how it is you are always so happy in the Lord and I am often downcast.” “Why massa,” said he, “I throw myself flat down on the promise—there I lie. You stand on the promise—you have a little to do with it and down you go when the wind comes. And then you cry, ‘Oh, I am down.’ Whereas I go flat on the prom- ise at once and that is why I fear no fall.” Then let us always say, “Lord, there is the promise. It is Your business to fulfill it.” Down I go on the promise flat! No standing up for me. That is where you should go—prostrate on the promise. And remember, every promise is a rock, an unchanging thing. Therefore, at His feet cast yourself and rest there forever!

5. But now comes one jarring note to spoil the theme. To some of you God is unchanging in His *threats*. If every promise stands fast and every oath of the covenant is fulfilled, hark you, Sinner—mark the word—hear the death knell of your carnal hopes! See the funeral of the fleshy trusting. Every threat of God, as well as every promise shall be fulfilled. Talk of decrees! I will tell you of a decree —“He that *believes not *shall be damned.” That is a decree and a statute that can never change. Be as good as you please, be as moral as you can, be as honest as you will, walk as uprightly as you may—there stands the unchangeable threat—“He that believes not shall be damned.”

What do you say to that, moralist? Oh, you wish you could alter it and say, “He that does not live a holy life shall be damned.” That will be true. But it does not say so. It says, “He that *believes not*.” Here is the stone of stumbling and the rock of offense. But you cannot alter it—you either believe or be damned, says the Bible. And mark—that threat of God is as unchangeable as God Himself. And when a thousand years of Hell’s torments shall have passed away you shall look on high and see written in burn- ing letters of fire, “He that believes not *shall *be damned.”

“But, Lord, I *am *damned.” Nevertheless it says *“shall *be” still. And when a million years have rolled away and you are exhausted by your pains and agonies, you shall turn up your eye and still read “SHALL BE DAMNED,” unchanged, unaltered. And when you shall have thought that eternity must have spun out its last thread—that every particle of that which we call eternity must have run out, you shall still see it written up there, “SHALL BE DAMNED.” O terrible thought! How dare I utter it? But I must. You must be warned, sirs, “lest you also come into this place of torment.” You must be told rough things, for if God’s gospel is not a rough thing, believe me, the law is a rough thing.

Mount Sinai is a rough thing. Woe unto the watchman that warns not the ungodly! God is unchanging in His threats. Beware, O sinner, for “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

6. We must just hint at one thought before we pass on and that is—God is unchanging in the *objects of His love*—not only in His love, but in the *objects *of it—

“If ever it should come to pass

That sheep of Christ might fall away,

My fickle, feeble soul, alas,

Would fall a thousand times a day.”

If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all. If one of the covenant ones is lost, so may all be and then there is no gospel promise true. Then the Bible is a lie and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once, when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God has loved me once, then He will love me forever—

“Did Jesus once upon me shine,

Then Jesus is forever mine.”

The objects of everlasting love never change. Those whom God has called, He will justify. Whom He has justified, He will sanctify. And whom He sanctifies, He will glorify.

I. Thus having taken a great deal too much time, perhaps, in simply expanding the thought of an unchanging God, I will now try to prove that HE IS UNCHANGEABLE. I am not much of an argumentative preacher, but one argument that I will mention is this—the very *existence and being of a God *seem to me to imply immutability. Let me think a moment. There is a God. This God rules and governs all things—this God fashioned the world—He upholds and maintains it. What kind of being must He be? It does strike me that you cannot think of a *changeable *God. I conceive that the thought is so repugnant to common sense that if you for one moment think of a changing God, the words seem to clash and you are obliged to say, “Then He must be a kind of man,” and you have a Mormonism idea of God!

I imagine it is impossible to conceive of a changing God. It is so to me. Others may be capable of such an idea, but I could not entertain it. I could no more think of a changing God than I could of a round square, or any other absurdity. The thing seems so contrary that I am obliged, when once I say, God, to include the idea of an unchanging being.

2. Well, I think that one argument will be enough, but another good argument may be found in the fact of *God’s perfection*. I believe God to be a perfect being. Now, if He is a perfect being, He cannot change. Do you not see this? Suppose I am perfect today. If it were possible for me to change, should I be perfect tomorrow after the alteration? If I changed, I must either change from a good state to a bet- ter—and then if I could get better, I could not be perfect *now*—or else from a better state to a worse— and if I were worse, I should not be perfect *then*. If I am perfect, I cannot be altered without being imperfect. If I am perfect today, I must be the same tomorrow if I am to be perfect then. So, if God is perfect, He must be the same—for change would imply imperfection now or imperfection then.

3. Again, there is the fact of *God’s infinity*, which puts change out of the question. God is an infinite being. What do you mean by that? There is no man who can tell you what he means by an infinite being. But there cannot be two infinities. If one thing is infinite, there is no room for anything else—for infinite means all. It means not bounded, not finite, having no end. Well, there cannot be two infinities. If God is infinite, today, and then should change and be infinite tomorrow, there would be two infinities. But that cannot be.

Suppose He is infinite and then changes, He must become finite and could not be God—either He is finite today and finite tomorrow, or infinite today and finite tomorrow, or finite today and infinite tomorrow—all of which suppositions are equally absurd. The fact of His being an infinite being at once quashes the thought of His being a changeable being. Infinity has written on its very brow the word “immutability.”

4. But then, dear friends, let us look at *the past*—and there we shall gather some proofs of God’s im- mutable nature. “Has He spoken and has He not done it? Has He sworn and has it not come to pass?” Can it not be said of Jehovah, He has done all His will and He has accomplished all His purpose?” Turn you to Philistia—ask where she is. God said, “Howl Ashdod and you gates of Gaza, for you shall fall,” and where are they? Where is Edom? Ask Petra and its ruined walls. Will they not echo back the truth that God has said, “Edom shall be a prey and shall be destroyed”? Where is Babel and where is Nineveh? Where is Moab and where is Ammon? Where are the nations God has said He would destroy? Has He not uprooted them and cast out the remembrance of them from the earth?

And has God cast off His people? Has He once been unmindful of His promise? Has He once broken His oath and covenant, or once departed from His plan? Ah, no. Point to one instance in history where God has changed! You cannot, sirs—for throughout all history there stands the fact—God has been immutable in His purposes. I think I hear someone say, “I can remember one passage in Scripture where God changed!” And so did I think, once. The case I mean is that of the death of Hezekiah. Isaiah came in and said, “Hezekiah, you must die, your disease is incurable, set your house in order.”

He turned his face to the wall and began to pray. And before Isaiah was in the outer court, he was told to go back and say, “You shall live fifteen years more.” You may think that proves that God chang- es. But really, I cannot see in it the slightest proof in the world. How do you know that God did not know that? Oh, but God *did *know it—He knew that Hezekiah would live. Then He did not change, for if He knew that, how could He change? That is what I want to know. But do you know one little thing?— that Hezekiah’s son Manasseh was not born at that time. And had Hezekiah died there would have been no Manasseh and no Josiah and no Christ, because Christ came from that very line!

You will find that Manasseh was 12 years old when his father died—so that he must have been born three years after this. And do you not believe that God decreed the birth of Manasseh and foreknew it? Certainly. Then He decreed that Isaiah should go and tell Hezekiah that his disease was incurable and then say also in the same breath, “But I will cure it and you shall live.” He said that to stir up Hezekiah to prayer. He spoke, in the first place as a man. “According to all human probability your disease is in- curable and you must die.” Then He waited till Hezekiah prayed—then came a little “but” at the end of the sentence.

Isaiah had not finished the sentence. He said, “You must put your house in order for there is no hu- man cure—but” (and then he walked out. Hezekiah prayed a little and then he came in again and said) “*But *I will heal you.” Where is there any contradiction there, except in the brain of those who fight against the Lord and wish to make Him a changeable being?

II. Now let me say a word on THE PERSONS TO WHOM THIS UNCHANGEABLE GOD IS A BENEFIT. “I am God I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Now, who are “the sons of Jacob”? Who can rejoice in an immutable God?

1. First, they are the *sons of God’s election*. For it is written, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated, the children being not yet born, neither having done good nor evil.” It was written, “The elder shall serve the younger.” “The sons of Jacob—

“Are the sons of God’s election,

Who through sovereign grace believe;

By eternal destination

Grace and glory they receive.”

God’s *elect *are here meant by “the sons of Jacob”—those whom He foreknew and foreordained to everlasting salvation!

2. By “the sons of Jacob” are meant, in the second place, *persons who enjoy peculiar rights and titles*. Jacob, you know, had no rights by birth, but he soon acquired them. He exchanged a mess of pottage with his brother, Esau, and thus gained the birthright. I do not justify the means. But he did also obtain the blessing and so acquired peculiar rights. By “the sons of Jacob” is meant persons who have peculiar rights and titles. Unto them who believe, He has given the right and power to become sons of God. They have an interest in the blood of Christ. They have a right to “enter in through the gates into the city”— they have a title to eternal honors. They have a promise to everlasting glory. They have a right to call themselves sons of God. Oh, there are peculiar rights and privileges belonging to the “sons of Jacob.”

3. Next, these “sons of Jacob” *were men of peculiar manifestations*. Jacob had had peculiar manifestations from his God and thus he was highly honored. Once at night he lay down and slept. He had the hedges for his curtains, the sky for his canopy, a stone for his pillow and the earth for his bed. Oh, then he had a peculiar manifestation. There was a ladder and he saw the angels of God ascending and descending. He thus had a manifestation of Christ Jesus as the ladder which reaches from earth to Heaven—up and down which angels came to bring us mercies. Then what a manifestation there was at Mahanaim when the angels of God met him—and again at Peniel, when He wrestled with God and saw Him face to face. Those were peculiar manifestations—and this passage refers to those who, like Jacob, have had peculiar manifestations.

Now then, how many of you have had personal manifestations? “Oh,” you say “that is enthusiasm— that is fanaticism.” Well, it is a blessed enthusiasm, too, for the sons of Jacob have had peculiar manifestations. They have talked with God as a man talks with his friend—they have whispered in the ear of Jehovah. Christ has been with them to sup with them and they with Christ. And the Holy Spirit has shone into their souls with such a mighty radiance that they could not doubt about special manifestations. The “sons of Jacob” are the men who enjoy these manifestations.

4. Then again, they are *men of peculiar trials*. Ah, poor Jacob! I should not choose Jacob’s lot if I had not the prospect of Jacob’s blessing. For a hard lot his was. He had to run away from his father’s house to Laban’s—and then that surly old Laban cheated him all the years he was there—cheated him of his wife, cheated him in his wages, cheated him in his flocks and cheated him all through the story. By-and- by he had to run away from Laban who pursued him and overtook him. Next came Esau with four hun- dred men to cut him up root and branch. Then there was a season of prayer and afterwards he wrestled God—and had to go all his life with his thigh out of joint. And a little further on, Rachel, his dearly be- loved, died. Then his daughter Dinah is led astray and the sons murder the Shechemites. Then his dear son, Joseph, is sold into Egypt and a famine comes. Then Reuben goes up to his couch and pollutes it— Judah commits incest with his own daughter-in-law and all his sons become a plague to him. At last Benjamin is taken away and the old man, almost broken-hearted, cries, “Joseph is not and Simeon is not and you will take Benjamin away?” Never was man more tried than Jacob—all through the one sin of cheating his brother! All through his life God chastised him. But I believe there are many who can sympathize with dear old Jacob. They have had to pass through trials very much like his. Well, cross- bearers, God says, “I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Poor tried Souls! You are not consumed because of the unchanging nature of your God. Now do not get to fretting and say, with the self-conceit of misery, “I am the man who has seen affliction.” Why “the Man of Sorrows” was afflicted more than you! Jesus was indeed a mourner. You only see the skirts of the garments of affliction. You never have trials like His. You do not understand what troubles mean. You have hardly sipped the cup of trouble—you have only had a drop or two, but Jesus drunk the dregs. Fear not, says God, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob,” men of peculiar trials, “are not consumed.”

5. Then one more thought about who are the “sons of Jacob,” for I should like you to find out whether you are “sons of Jacob,” yourselves. They are *men of peculiar character*. For though there were some things about Jacob’s character which we cannot commend, there are one or two things which God com- mends. There was Jacob’s faith, by which Jacob had his name written among the mighty worthies who obtained not the promises on earth but shall obtain them in Heaven. Are you men of faith, beloved? Do you know what it is to walk by faith, to live by faith, to get your temporary food by faith, to live on spiritual manna—all by faith? Is faith the rule of your life? If so, you are the “sons of Jacob.”

Then Jacob was a man of prayer—a man who wrestled and groaned and prayed. There is a man up yonder who never prayed this morning, before coming up to the House of God. Ah, you poor Heathen, don’t you pray? “No!” he says, “I never thought of such a thing—for years I have not prayed.” Well, I hope you may before you die. Live and die without prayer and you will pray long enough when you get to Hell. There is a woman—she did not pray this morning. She was so busy sending her children to the Sunday school she had no time to pray. No time to pray? Had you time to dress? There is a time for every purpose under Heaven and if you had purposed to pray, you would have prayed. Sons of God cannot live without prayer. They are wrestling Jacobs. They are men in whom the Holy Spirit so works that they can no more live without prayer than I can live without breathing. They must pray. sirs, mark you, if you are living without prayer, you are living without Christ. And dying like that, your portion will be in the lake which burns with fire. God redeem you, God rescue you from such a lot! But you who are “the sons of Jacob,” take comfort, for God is immutable.

III. I can say only a word about the other point—THE BENEFIT WHICH THESE “SONS OF JACOB” RECEIVE FROM AN UNCHANGING GOD. “Therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” “Consumed?” How? How can man be consumed? Why, there are two ways. We might have been consumed in Hell. If God had been a changing God, the “sons of Jacob” here this morning, might have been consumed in Hell. But for God’s unchanging love I should have been a stick in the fire. But there is a way of being consumed in this *world*. There is such a thing as being *condemned *before you die— “condemned already.” There is such a thing as being alive and yet being absolutely dead. We might have been left to our own devices—and then where would we be now? Reveling with the drunkard, blaspheming Almighty God? Oh, had He left you, dearly beloved, had He been a changing God—you had been among the filthiest of the filthy and the vilest of the vile! Cannot you remember in your life seasons similar to those I have felt? I have gone right to the edge of sin—some strong temptation has taken hold of both my arms so that I could not wrestle with it. I have been pushed along, dragged as by an awful Satanic power to the very edge of some horrid precipice. I have looked down, down, down and seen my portion. I quivered on the brink of ruin. I have been horrified, as, with my hair upright, I have thought of the sin I was about to commit—the horrible pit into which I was about to fall! A strong arm has saved me. I have started back and cried, O God, could I have gone so near sin and yet come back again? Could I have walked right up to the furnace and not fallen down, like Nebuchadnezzar’s strong men, devoured by the very heat? Oh, is it possible I should be here this morning, when I think of the sins I have committed and the crimes which have crossed my wicked imagination? Yes, I am here, unconsumed, because the Lord changes not. Oh, if He had changed, we should have been consumed in a dozen ways. If the Lord had changed, you and I should have been consumed by ourselves—for after all, Mr. Self is the worst enemy a Christian has. We would have proved suicides to our own souls. We would have mixed the cup of poison for our own spirits, if the Lord had not been an unchanging God and dashed the cup out of our hands when we were about to drink it. Then we would have been consumed by God, Himself, if He had not been a changeless God. We call God a Father—but there is not a father in this world who would not have killed all his children long ago, so provoked would he have been with them—if he had been half as much troubled as God has been with His family. He has the most trouble- some family in the whole world—unbelieving, ungrateful, disobedient, forgetful, rebellious, wandering, murmuring and stiff-necked. Well, it is that He is long-suffering, or else He would have taken not only the rod, but the sword to some of us long ago! But there was nothing in us to love at first, so there can- not be less now. John Newton used to tell a whimsical story and laugh at it, too, of a good woman who said, in order to prove the doctrine of Election—“Ah, sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards.” I am sure it is true in my case and true in respect to most of God’s people. For there is little to love in them after they are born. If He had not loved them before, He would have seen no reason to choose them after—but since He loved them without works, He still loves them without works. Since their good works did not *win *His affection, bad works cannot *sever *that affection—since their righteousness did not bind His love to them, so their wickedness cannot snap the golden links. He loved them out of pure sovereign grace and He will love them still. But we should have been consumed by the devil and by our enemies—consumed by the world, consumed by our sins, by our trials and in a hundred other ways if God had ever changed!

Well, now, time fails us and I can say but little. I have only just cursorily touched on the text. I now hand it to you. May the Lord help you “sons of Jacob” to take home this portion of meat. Digest it well and feed upon it. May the Holy Spirit sweetly apply the glorious things that are written! And may you have “a feast of fat things, of wines on the lees well refined!” Remember God is the same, whatever is removed. Your friends may be disaffected, your ministers may be taken away, everything may change— but God does not. Your brethren may change and cast out your name as vile—but God will still love you! Let your station in life change and your property be gone. Let your whole life be shaken and you become weak and sickly. Let everything flee away—there is one place where change cannot put his fin- ger. There is one name on which mutability can never be written. There is one heart which never can alter. That heart is God’s—that name Love—

“Trust Him, He will never deceive you.

Though you harshly of Him deem;

He will never, never leave you,

Nor will let you quite leave Him.”

PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON

TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST!

[1] Footnote 1. http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols1-3/chs1.pdf

Friday, May 6, 2016

Strange and Funny . . . Crazy Laws

**Many of these laws were established during the end of the 1800s and early 1900s, when the United States was rapidly changing from an agricultural to industrial nation. Some of the laws went out of date or were repealed. Many are still on the books but not enforced.
1.    Before 1920, it was illegal for women in the United States to vote. When women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony tried to vote in the 1872 election, she was arrested and fined $100.
2.    It’s illegal to ride an ugly horse in Wilbur, Washington.
3.    It is illegal for chickens to cross the road in Quitman, Georgia
4.    In Mohave County, Arizona, if anyone is caught stealing soap, he must wash himself with it until the soap is gone.
5.    In North Dakota, no one can be arrested on the Fourth of July, a holiday that is commonly known there as “Five Finger Discount Day.”
6.    In Tennessee, it is illegal for children to play games on Sunday without a license.
7.    It is illegal in Tennessee for an atheist to hold office.
8.    It is illegal in California to lick toads. Apparently, some people were licking toads to get high. Unfortunately, some people were being harmed by the toads’ poison.
9.    It is against Michigan state law to tie a crocodile to a fire hydrant.
10.    An old Colorado law states that a person must have a doctor’s prescription before taking a bath.
11.    Colorado law states that a man cannot marry his wife’s grandmother.
12.    In Kansas, when two trains meet at a crossing, “both shall come to full stop and neither shall start up again until the other has gone.”
13.    A woman in a housecoat is forbidden to drive a car in California.
14.    According to Minneapolis law, a person who double parks a car will be put on a chain gang with only bread and water to eat.
15.    In Michigan, a woman’s hair belongs to her husband
16.    In Morrisville, Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a woman to wear cosmetics without a permit.
17.    In Challis, Idaho, it is illegal to walk down the street with another man’s wife.
18.    Flirting in Little Rock, Arkansas, can land someone in jail for 30 days.
19.    In Truro, Mississippi, a man must prove himself worthy before getting married by hunting and killing either six blackbirds or three crows.
20.    There are still laws in Pueblo, Colorado, stating that it is illegal to grow dandelions.
21.    A woman in Memphis, Tennessee, is not allowed to drive a car unless a man is in front of the car waving a red flag to warn people and other cars.
22.    It is illegal for children under the age of 12 to talk on the telephone unless accompanied by a parent in Blue Earth, Minnesota.
23.    In Eureka, Nevada, it is illegal for men who have mustaches to kiss women.
24.    It is illegal in Waco, Texas, to throw a banana peel onto the street because a horse could slip.
25.    In Texas, the Encyclopedia Britannica was banned because it contained a formula for making beer.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Luke 10.17-24 Rejoicing in the Gospel of God

Summary: The only proper response to the understanding of God's sovereign work in salvation is to rejoice. Jesus rejoiced in God's plan and exhorted his disciples, "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

 1. A. As we begin, consider the sermon title, “Rejoicing in the Gospel of God.” How would you describe the Gospel of God based on the following verses? Luke 10:1, 16-24, Romans 1:1

 B. Last week, we looked at Jesus sending out “seventy others.” How did He repeatedly refer to Himself? John 4:34, 5:22-24, 30, 37-38, 6:38-39, 7:16

C. As we consider being sent and sending, what prayer request did Jesus make? Luke 10:2

2. A. Last week we ended on Luke 10:16. Jesus did not just appoint and send the seventy. What did He do and what do we need to remember? Luke 10:16

B. What impact does verse 16 have? I Corinthians 3:6, John 15:20, Matthew 28:18-20

C.  What does obedience, particularly obedience in important things, bring? Luke 10:17

3. A. What caused the seventy to rejoice and what were they exhorted to rejoice in? Luke 10:17-20

B. Verse 18 is prophetic. What seals the deal here? Colossians 2:9-15, Ephesians 1:15-23

C. Is your name on the list that really matters? Luke 10:20, Revelation 20:11-15

4. A. What did Jesus do, “at that very time” and why did He do it? Luke 10:21-24

B. To whom should we look as the source of our salvation, and in what should we rejoice? Luke 9:35, 10:21-24, Romans 9:16, I Timothy 1:15-17, 2:3-6, II Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:3-4

C. What happens when you really hear the Gospel? Titus 3:4-8, Matthew 11:25-30

Luke 10:1-16 Sending the Lambs into the midst of Wolves

1. In what manner were the seventy-two followers sent out?

2. What was life like for the seventy-two disciples?

3. Which of the jobs done by the seventy-two do we see in action today?

4. According to Jesus, why were His followers to pray for more workers? (10:2)

5. What instructions has Jesus given you?

6. When have you been rejected as a representative of Christ?

7. Why do you think Jesus likened his followers to lambs?

8. What instructions did Jesus give the seventy-two concerning their departure? ( 10:4)

9. What were Jesus' followers to do about accommodations? (10:5-8)

10. What were the seventy-two sent out to do? (10:9)

11. When can you set aside time to pray regularly to learn your place among those whom God has sent out?

12. To what could unbelieving towns look forward? (10: 10-15)

13. What are the trappings of being "wise and learned"?

14. What can we see and hear about God that the disciples, prophets, and kings could not?

15. Whom else can you encourage in your church or fellowship group to join you in prayer and service?

Luke 9.51-62 Don’t Look Back

Summary: Nothing would deter Jesus from going to the cross. In our text, Luke 9:51-62, we cannot help but see the contrast between Jesus' resolute determination and that of three of his would-be followers.

1.  A. As you begin to read our text, what do you notice in verse 51? Luke 9:51

B. Luke 9:51-19:28 is referred to as “The Travel Log.” This section is unique to the gospel of Luke. Why did Jesus come to the earth?

C. As a back drop to this section, note the following: It is characterized by teaching. There is rejection by the religious authorities. There is superficial interest by the multitudes.

2. A. Begin by comparing Jesus’ resolve to the three would-be followers. What do you find? Luke 9:51, 57-62

B. What is significant about Jesus going up to Jerusalem? Luke 9:51, 13:31-33

C. What is Jesus’ purpose in going to Jerusalem? Luke 9:28-31

D. Whose unwillingness keeps man from salvation? I John 4:10, 3:16, 10:11, 10:15, 16:7-8, II Peter 3:9, I Timothy 2:3-4

3. A. Read Luke 9:51-56. What does this tell you about James and John? What did Jesus call James and John? Mark 3:16-17

B. What can we learn about ourselves from James and John? Where might they have got such an idea of consuming fire? Luke 9:46-49, Matthew 20:17-24, II Kings 1:9-10

C. Why did Jesus come? Can He bring judgment? I Timothy 1:15, Hebrews 10:31, 12:28-29, John 3:16-18

D. What is God’s heart for even those who reject Him? Acts 8:14-17

4. A. Read on in the text, Luke 9:57-62. What do you notice about these three would-be followers of Jesus?

B.  Look at Jesus’ response to each one: The first man volunteers. What does Jesus challenge him with? Luke 9:58, 9:23

C. Jesus picks out the second man. What does he offer Jesus and how does Jesus respond? Luke 9:59-60, 14:26

D. What is the dire warning Jesus has for the third man? How does looking back come off in scripture? Luke 9:61-62, 17:32, II Timothy 4:10, Acts 13:13

E.  What about us? Do we volunteer quickly, like the first man, without counting the costs? Do we hope He does not pick us, and then offer excuses like the second man? Do we know the issue, like the third man, but still want to look back? Luke 9:57-62

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Luke 9.37-50 Coming Down from a Mountain Top Experience

Summary: A few times in our lives we participate in a spiritual mountain top experience. However, the true test of our character is what we do after we come down from that mountain top experience.

1. To set the stage, let's take a quick review of The Transfiguration. How divinely ironic is it that Christ was transfigured before James, John and Peter? See Isaiah 52:14 & 53:2.

2. Take note at what happened after the Father spoke during The Transfiguration.

3. After this mountain top experience, Jesus is greeted by the father whose only son was demon possessed. This is a seemingly random transition in the Scripture, but is it truly so? Is anything truly random? See Ephesians 1:11.

4. As mentioned in the summary, much of ministry is spent in the trenches and not on the mountain top. How does Jesus graciously handle this transition?

5. In verse 41 we see Jesus lamenting the current unbelieving and perverted generation. Why might Jesus have done this?

6. In spite of a "perverted generation", what did the father try to elicit from Jesus? What can we learn from this example?

7. In the parallel account in Mark 9, we see the father cry out in verse 24, "I do believe; help my unbelief." What was probably the intent of this man? Can you relate?

8. Right after Jesus miraculously heals this demon-possessed boy, the crowd begins to marvel (once again) at His greatness. Instead of Jesus rightfully basking in His glory, what does He say?

9. Speaking of verse 44, does Jesus ever lose focus of His main task? See also verses 22 and 51.

10. On the heels of seeing Jesus predict His servant suffering, some of the disciples begin to argue about who is the greatest. How does Jesus correct their thinking in verses 47-48?

11. Speaking of pride, how could the lack of understanding in Luke 9:45 be caused by the actions of verse 46?

12. How did Jesus know some of the disciples were arguing about their "heavenly position"? What does this tell you about the power of Christ?

13. The sin of pride is laced throughout the Bible. How can we overcome this sin? See John 5:39-47, Philippians 1:15-18, James 4:6 and I Peter 5:5.

14. In a sin scarred world, it can be difficult to tell our allies from our adversaries. How does Jesus help explain this in verse 50? How does this relate to the seeming paradox in found in Luke 11:23?

15. Finally, Pastor Scott mentioned the young mother on the side of the road. According to the latest statistics, it's highly probable that she's unwed and a single mother. How can we have compassion for her? How could we possibly help her? How does this passage help us do that?